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funeral arrangements ( Filed under: chronotopes, departure lounge | Tags: )

If you don’t want anyone to know where you are buried and you have a lot of trustworthy henchmen: Periander (628-588 BC): Like Thales, Solon and Chilon, Periander of Corinth was considered one of the Seven Sages of Greece. To others, like Aristotle, he was simply a tyrant. However, there is a bizarre story about […]

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janitors in the Crystal Palace ( Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: , , , , )

I am going back to Critchley’s book Continental Philosophy for a second read. I’m not a philosopher so it takes time to sink in. In this passage from early in the book Critchley describes how in the 17th century philosophy became a handmaid to the newly dominant pursuit of science. The original Greek conception that knowledge and […]

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death in your mouth ( Filed under: brave new world, departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: , , , , )

Material life or … spirituality or … death in your mouth. Simon Critchley describes how materialism and spirituality are the diametric options for living that we tend to follow en masse in this life, and how they enslave us.  Both are escapist strategies:  materialism is the handmaid of forgetfulness; spirituality of assurance of endless life. […]

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watching the royals ( Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: , , , )

SPELL Why so enthralled with the royal wedding?  It’s senseless to care about quaint, ceremonial institutions. Fairy tales and princesses – we’ve moved on, haven’t we?  We revolted against and removed the heads of monarchs and dispatched the ideas that held us in thrall and them in power:  divine right, heredity.  And with blood and […]

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love not possession ( Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: , , , , , , )

Here is a definition of philosophy by Critchley which is quite democratic.  It wrestles the discipline out of the iron grip of the intelligentsia of the day – sophistry – and presents it transparently for anyone and everyone who will have it.  It says it can’t be owned or quantified, and rather it is a […]

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books

A Jane Alison, The Sisters Antipodes Hannah Arendt,, Eichmann in Jerusalem B J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition J. G. Ballard, Miracles of Life, 2009, Harper Perennial George Bataille, The Tears of Eros (trans. Peter Connor) Ambrose Bierce, The Devils Dictionary Walter Benjamin, Reflections David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue David Byrne, […]

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the european dream ( Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , , , )

The American dream is only a dream after all.  I had a suspicion.  There were so many red flags chief among them grandiloquence, bombast:  if we keep telling ourselves we’re the best, then we’re the best.  Peddlers of the big lie everywhere:  that to tell monstrous falsehoods will breed credulity. I stepped off the boat […]

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a lot of the world left out ( Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , )

This is an excerpt from David Byrne’s book Bicycle Diaries in which he discusses how the Chinese in Hong Kong tend to destroy anything that has been designed and built for the public realm.  I grew up in India and have occasionally thought about returning there to set up life, but hesitate when I remember […]

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beasts and lunatics ( Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , , , , )

Here is a quotation from Critchley’s Continental Philosophy in which he gives a kind of primer description of each of a half dozen or so significant 20th C European (non British) philosophers. Critchley establishes a dialectic:  that an emphasis on knowledge leads to scientism and turns us into beasts and conversely an emphasis on wisdom […]

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continental abyss ( Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , , , )

This is from Simon Critchley’s Continental Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction which describes the differences and similarities between continental and British – also called analytic – systems of thought. I’m just back from a trip to London and Paris and found the two cities to be radically different; I am convinced the forms of the […]

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